Protein Lengthens Mesothelioma Life Expectancy

A new study suggests that mesothelioma patients who have a protein known as CD9 are likely to have a longer life expectancy than patients whose cells do not express this protein.

According to researchers at Hiroshima University in Japan, the cell surface protein that aids with cell growth, adhesion, and mobility, is already linked with other types of cancer. A team at the Institute of Biomedical and health Sciences in Hiroshima evaluated the impact of CD0 on mesothelioma cells by first measuring the result when CD9 expression was reduced through gene manipulation. In the samples studied, knockdown of CD9 led to enhanced mobility for the cancer cells.

Next, the researchers studied CD9 expression in samples from 112 pleural mesothelioma patients with different histopathological subtipes. CD9 expression was noted in 62 of the 71 samples of the epithelioid subtype. CD9 expression was also found in 13 of the 20 patients with biphasic mesothelioma. However, only 1 in 20 patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma showed CD9 expression.

Researchers drew a clear link between mesothelioma patients with CD9 expression and longer survival rate: up to 2 years longer than patients who did not express the protein. One year after diagnosis, 63% of mesothelioma patients with CD9 are still living, and a quarter of those patients survived more than two years after diagnosis. On the other hand, mesothelioma patients without CD9 expression had a one-year survival rate of only 39%.

Patients with CD9 expression had other factors in their favor, as well. They were mostly younger than 60 years old, their mesothelioma was diagnosed at an earlier stage, and most had undergone extrapleural pnuemonectomy or chemotherapy. Based on study results, the team in Japan concluded that “CD9 expression is an independent favorable prognostic marker of malignant mesothelioma.”

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